DIY Equivalent to JTR CAP sub - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I just recently started thinking of going the DIY route with my home theater. For months now I've decided on getting JTR t12's and 2 Captivators. However the DIY speaker route is tons cheaper and looks like a lot of fun.
I got my mains figured out what I wanna do: 4 Pi's w/ B&C DE250 driver and JBL 2226H woofer.
However I'm lost on what to do for subs. Looking to probably do 2 18" subs maybe more. I reviewed the captivators excessively and really like the reviews and how they performed in both HT and music settings. What DIY build out there would match up or out perform these for what I'm looking for? I would like the sub to be active cause I'm not to knowledgable with passive setups and what's all involved. However if active is not the way to go ill change my mind I'm not looking to spend a whole lot maybe around $500-700ish per sub.
The new Mach 5 audio Pi-18's caught my eye but other than that I'm lost.
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post #2 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 12:39 PM
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Nothing really special about the Captivator. It's just a high powered 18" driver in a resonant alignment. What it is is a well executed subwoofer for the internet direct market. However the equivalent to the Captivator is pretty run-of-the-mill around here.

$500-700 per sub doesn't leave much budget for an amp if you're serious about the Pi18 which is $500 alone. Though if you just want something made that would compete with (or decimate) a Captivator, that can be arranged.


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post #3 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Simonian View Post

Nothing really special about the Captivator. It's just a high powered 18" driver in a resonant alignment. What it is is a well executed subwoofer for the internet direct market. However the equivalent to the Captivator is pretty run-of-the-mill around here.

$500-700 per sub doesn't leave much budget for an amp if you're serious about the Pi18 which is $500 alone. Though if you just want something made that would compete with (or decimate) a Captivator, that can be arranged.

I will disagree with you here. The Cap is one powerful and great sounding sub with it's only limitation is the bandwidth except it was designed to be that way. You will need a great driver to compete as a single sub. Now, we can beat it with multiples of cheaper drivers but we have to be picky. The Cap is also very compact for a ported 18 inch design which impressed me the most.
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post #4 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 01:05 PM
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I didn't say it was 'bad' at all. In fact, I mentioned that it is a well executed subwoofer. However, in the realm of 'DIY subwoofers' ... it's nothing special.


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post #5 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Simonian View Post

I didn't say it was 'bad' at all. In fact, I mentioned that it is a well executed subwoofer. However, in the realm of 'DIY subwoofers' ... it's nothing special.

The only sub I see beating the Cap in DIY land is a LMS 5400 sealed. Similar size, similar output, extension goes to the sealed design as always! The PI is an unknown entity and the others like the SSD will need dual opposed and will be bigger and the sound quality is unknown. However, once EQ'd to the LP I will say differences in SQ are very little! Is it fair to compare different designs like sealed vs ported? Let's try building a ported 18 the size of the Cap with it's performance, it will be tuff because the driver in the Cap is excellent with 30mm of x-max!
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post #6 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Simonian View Post

Nothing really special about the Captivator. It's just a high powered 18" driver in a resonant alignment. What it is is a well executed subwoofer for the internet direct market. However the equivalent to the Captivator is pretty run-of-the-mill around here.

$500-700 per sub doesn't leave much budget for an amp if you're serious about the Pi18 which is $500 alone. Though if you just want something made that would compete with (or decimate) a Captivator, that can be arranged.

okay.... so in the price range im looking to stay between what are some good options for HT and music that i can research. Than again i can always up my budget cause after this build i hope im satisfied and not wanting more
Also is there is a setup that will go well with my upgraded 4 Pi's more than others?
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post #7 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 03:37 PM
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"Nothing really special about the Captivator."

i agree, but it uses a good driver and a *really* good amp in the upgrade version.

the ascendant audio mayhem 18 d2 would give the captivator driver a run for its money.

retails for around $500. nice powerful motor on this one.

http://www.soundsolutionsaudio.com/s...Subwoofer.html

finding a decent 2500 watt amp might be a challenge.

the 30mm xmax really isn't needed as with 2500 watts, excursion is 20mm.

i suppose staying within xmax with peak power is worth something.

the enclosure is 6 cubes tuned to 20hz (my guess at internal vol of the captivator)

clues in the description suggests that it is built by fi, but i don't know.
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post #8 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 03:49 PM
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I'm with Scott, who's a seasoned vet DIY ported guy and knows what he's talking about.

You should be able to build a 1x18 using the Fi Q-18 for $5-600. Around 10 cubes tuned to 20-22 Hz. It will easily compete with a passy Cap, not to mention you could do far better in box design/aesthetics.

A pair with the iNuke 6k DSP for around $1500 would cover HPF protection and room smoothing PEQ and mop the floor with a single powered Cap for $1200 less.

A single version with the Berry EP or iNuke 3k amp should cost $8-900.

There are many, many other driver options available, despite the laziness that has gripped the forum these days, waiting for others to find the latest hot driver and jumping on the bandwagon.

Ricci says he ordered a Fi Q to test and we shall see what the results are in fairly short order, but I'm not much of a ported guy, so bug Scott for the skivvy, models, etc.

It's a box with a pipe and a driver. Cap Schmap.

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post #9 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 05:13 PM
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Lol at bosso

(true words just funny delivery)


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post #10 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 06:28 PM
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wow...the cap is $3k?
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post #11 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 09:23 PM
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Why do you guys assume that the q driver will mop the floor of the cap? The Cap is actually a stronger driver and can take more power. It is also much smaller than a typical DIY ported monster. You can always run the same amp on a passive cap which cost $1200 right now. You pay extra for the smaller size as always. My giant sonotubes were super cheap using the eD drivers and I built 4 of them which would beat 2 Caps but the caps are tiny compared to 4 of them. I guess it depends on what the OP means by duplicating. Of course my sonos went to 11 hz in room which the caps will never do but mine were huge to get low.
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post #12 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

wow...the cap is $3k?

with the 4K watt dsp amp $2699 and $1499 for the passive version.

Blasting brown notes for 10 years and counting!

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post #13 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ehoeft View Post

okay.... so in the price range im looking to stay between what are some good options for HT and music that i can research. Than again i can always up my budget cause after this build i hope im satisfied and not wanting more
Also is there is a setup that will go well with my upgraded 4 Pi's more than others?

That's a question with a million different answers. Sorry to say but you're gonna have to do some homework. Check out the sticky thread in this area. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1104368 Tons of projects to check out.

As much as I'd like to give you an option A, option B kind of thing... there is a whole lot to it than that. What we need from you is to nail down some specifics. What kind of performance exactly are you looking for? Just as good as a Cap? Those don't go much below 20hz but the output is very high. How large of an enclosure can you live with? Have you built a speaker/sub system before? Do you have tools to get the job done? How large is the space that this new sub will operate in? How loud do you like to listen? How badly do you not want to have a desire to need more once you've built this. How much are you really prepared to spend?

If it were my money and I didn't want to need to have more SPL, more extension in the future... I'd go with a multi-subwoofer, high powered sealed subwoofer system. Don't I sound like a broken record anymore, fellas? Seriously, with the right gear and execution, you'll have SPL in excess of 120dB across the entire bandwidth of the system with extension down to the single digits. Super simple to build and install. Takes up less space than a large resonant system too.

That's what I'd do but I would need to know more about what you really want. Replicating the performance of a Cap is pretty easy but there are multiples ways of doing it.


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post #14 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 11:49 PM
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FWIW I've heard a lot of subs in a lot of places over the years and I've never heard a better sub than the powered Captivator at the KC Meet. Granted I don't design subs for a living but I've also heard several DIY jobbers over the years and none could even come close to the passive caps powered by even a simple EP4000. I'm quite sure they exist, I'll acknowledge that some of you long timers probably have sub setups that would "decimate" the captivators... but then you are not the norm. The average enthusiast, much less the average person, has never heard anything nearly as quality as a Captivator, despite the fact they might have heard subs in many different, clubs, venues, churches, theaters, etc.

...the general consensus seems to be in this thread that the cap is easy to replicate.

Fair enough.

Who's done it commercially besides perhaps Funky Waves with the LMS-5400 and Elemental Designs with their 400lb behemoth of a sub?

The Cap scores even, or a perhaps a hair below the Seaton Submersive HP in every subjective listening test so far that they've been compared A/B in. (probably based on a overwhelming sealed vs. ported preference among the majority of this community). Since the Cap scored within 2% overall of the Submersive HP at the Omaha Meet and basically tied the Submersive HP at the KC meet among user votes --- would you say it's equally easy and cheap to build a Seaton Submersive hp clone here on the DIY forums?? If not, then you can hardly say it's easy to build a Captivator clone because they score roughly the same.

They are widely recognized as two of the best sub designs currently available for purchase (outside of the DIY world). If it was so easy to replicate them, then they wouldn't be noted as an 'outstanding' product. There's also something to be said for never really approaching your driver limits. The headroom, unused in most cases, on the captivators, makes for a constant clean sound regardless of volume requirements for most home theaters, in my experience with my pair of caps in my room I've noted I can't make them sound stressed -- I like that and don't want a driver that just gets me there and one notch more on the volume will make them fart....I like getting there, not being able to tolerate any more --- and still having lots of headroom on the dial.


I understand most of you forum elders with engineering backgrounds posting in this thread with LOTS of sub building experience could build an equivalent Captivator for less money (not for resale with intent for profit) for your own purpose -- given a lot of time and research, but OP is a novice. Novices don't make world class beaters on the first time out. Just the way it is...

my 2 cents.


MKTheater's heard a lot of stuff and done a lot of DIY. He's said in a couple threads now that the Captivator 1000 is the single best subwoofer he's ever heard. That's the little brother to the standard Captivator. All I'd like to point out is that the Cap is far from just another run of the mill, average joe offering.

I'd bet big money that the OP can't go buy a $500 unvetted driver, throw it in guesstimate box and have it sound anywhere near as good as the cap though I suppose nobody would take me up on that wager

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"

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post #15 of 168 Old 01-04-2012, 11:52 PM
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Quote:
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Fair enough.

Who's done it?

Me. My LLT's would decimate a Captivator. Many others have tread down that road too with much success.

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OP is a novice. Novices don't make world class beaters on the first time out. Just the way it is...

my 2 cents.

A novice could if they wanted to. Just sayin'.


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post #16 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 12:41 AM
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Just as Scott has stated there are so many variables. For size I think its hard to get past Bosso style subs(dual opposed 15's) and a clone amp. My sealed ,Bosso-like, sub was 94liters. That was dual 15's and I am not saying that it was as good as the Cap but I liked it.

But I just wanted more. And thats the problem.

Bosso has never steered me wrong so I would think any Novice with WinIsd and this forum can design a great subwoofer the first time out. Maybe it wont look the best first time out but sound I think will be fine.

Just curious what the OP really wants.


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post #17 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post



I understand most of you forum elders with engineering backgrounds posting in this thread with LOTS of sub building experience could build an equivalent Captivator for less money (not for resale with intent for profit) for your own purpose -- given a lot of time and research, but OP is a novice. Novices don't make world class beaters on the first time out. Just the way it is...

my 2 cents

I'd bet big money that the OP can't go buy a $500 unvetted driver, throw it in guesstimate box and have it sound anywhere near as good as the cap though I suppose nobody would take me up on that wager

Oh man I feel like I'm being called out. $500 driver, unvetted, CHECK. Guesstimate box, CHECK. I'll add one....amp from China...check. Total cost for a dual opposed, cheaper than a Cap.

Hopefully my DIY effort sways your mind down the road.

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post #18 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 06:40 AM
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Oh man I feel like I'm being called out. $500 driver, unvetted, CHECK. Guesstimate box, CHECK. I'll add one....amp from China...check. Total cost for a dual opposed, cheaper than a Cap.

Hopefully my DIY effort sways your mind down the road.

Are you using the PI drivers in a dual opposed seal? If so then your single sub will cost around $1300-1400 with a built and shipped cabinet? Well this puts you right near the Cap in price so I would love to hear the comparison. It is obvious to me which one would perform better due to the extension.
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post #19 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 07:40 AM
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Oh man I feel like I'm being called out. $500 driver, unvetted, CHECK. Guesstimate box, CHECK. I'll add one....amp from China...check. Total cost for a dual opposed, cheaper than a Cap.

No, not you specifically. You've been around the block a few times with DIY, have connections to local enthusists and buddies who will vest time in helping you get it right, and spend hours, weeks, months, and longer on these forums digesting everything.

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Hopefully my DIY effort sways your mind down the road.

I agree!
Tell that driver company to expedite your drivers and we can all determine together first hand on Jan 14. You may not find a better commercial lineup to compare against for some time to come.

Chase Home Theater 18.1 pair and 18.T (pair - running four subs at once)
HSU VTF-15H
JTR Captivator Pro Pair
JTR Orbit Shifter Pair
JTR Cap Sealed Pair
Klipsch RW-12D
Seaton Submersive HPs (hopefully)

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"

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post #20 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 07:53 AM
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There is nothing particularly "magical" or challenging about designing a subwoofer with a simple alignment. JTR's Captivator is by most accounts a very well designed and executed example. The $1500 price sans amp is quite good IMO for a non-DIY option.

Equaling or surpassing its performance would not be particularly difficult although it would require a fairly expensive driver. Simply find a driver of similar quality that offers similar displacement. The biggest advantage a commercial outfit like JTR has over DIYers is the ability to have the driver's spec's altered to fit their application. I don't know if JTR has done this.

This all assumes you are trying to mimic the Cap's form factor (~5.5cu ft internal), alignment (ported), driver quality (presumed low inductance linear motor) and extension (18-20hz). With a little legwork and some sweat equity (aka cutting wood) you can definitely equal the JTR for somewhere around $700-900+amp (rough guess). For instance, I'd choose a B&C 21SW115-4 and put it in a near replica box with about 2-3kw. PE sells that driver for $670 right now (other places have it cheaper) and budget $100 for wood. Two of those with a iNuke 6k DSP would put you right around $2k and you will have almost enough output for a small commercial theater (>120db down to about 18hz in half space...more in a typical room). I'd be very surprised if JTR's driver is higher quality than the B&C.

IMO, you should take a step back though and assess what you want and what you can "spend". The reason I put "spend" quotes is because there are DIY costs beyond money. Maybe you can live with ugly boxes or maybe you handle a bigger box than the Cap or multiple smaller boxes. DIY gives you flexibility that someone like JTR can't offer. Maybe you would be better served by multiple smaller drivers in a sealed setup or maybe a horn sub. It is hard to say without more details.
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post #21 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post

"Nothing really special about the Captivator."

i agree, but it uses a good driver and a *really* good amp in the upgrade version.

the ascendant audio mayhem 18 d2 would give the captivator driver a run for its money.

retails for around $500. nice powerful motor on this one.

the 30mm xmax really isn't needed as with 2500 watts, excursion is 20mm.

The Mayham is a nice driver. The BL^2/re of the Mayham is 223 vs LMS-5400's 225 vs the Captivater 256.5 plus the Captivator's and LMS's 6 spoke backet allows for the spaced spiders and more mechanical travel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bossobass View Post

I'm with Scott, who's a seasoned vet DIY ported guy and knows what he's talking about.

You should be able to build a 1x18 using the Fi Q-18 for $5-600. Around 10 cubes tuned to 20-22 Hz. It will easily compete with a passy Cap, not to mention you could do far better in box design/aesthetics.

Ricci says he ordered a Fi Q to test and we shall see what the results are in fairly short order, but I'm not much of a ported guy, so bug Scott for the skivvy, models, etc.

It's a box with a pipe and a driver. Cap Schmap.

Bosso

The Q's has roughly half the motor strength so it will need much more excursion for same output in the same vented enclosure.
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post #22 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 08:47 AM
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budget $100 for wood.

The 25mm Baltic Birch, void free, grade "BB" that I use is nearly $100 a sheet.
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post #23 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 09:23 AM
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The 25mm Baltic Birch, void free, grade "BB" that I use is nearly $100 a sheet.

Are you going to argue that the 25mm BB affects the performance of the subwoofer relative to 3/4" MDF or ply with adequate bracing? I love BB for sure, but this is at best a 2 sheet build. That would be $60 of MDF or $200 of BB. Even at $200 of BB my build comes in below the captivator by a healthy chunk (~$900 before bed liner and amp...you could build 2 of these with MDF and be under the price of the Cap). Certainly the BB box would be better for shipping and moving, but from a sound perspective, nada. I understand why you guys use it, but don't mislead him to think it is particularly beneficial.

I respect your products, including the Captivator. If I had a friend that wanted something along those lines it wouldn't hesitate to suggest it. I gave it the respect that it is due. It is seemingly well designed and executed. There is nothing groundbreaking or difficult to replicate in the realm of ported subwoofers. JTR seems to do a very nice job with the internet direct stuff.

With that said, I'd be pretty confident in a B&C 21SW115/152 in a similar sized box with the same tune and about 2kw (check out the THD in Ricci's test of his 25hz tuned 21SW152 <4% @ 120db from tune and up). Yes, the Captivator has a bit more displacement, but that would require another 2kw to take advantage of and fair bit more money. An AE TD18H would also be fun, but without the sheer output capability of the B&C or Cap.

I'm also not arguing that DIY is "free". There would be much time involved and potentially tool purchases. There is also the possibility for mistakes and the finish is dependent on the DIYers skill. For some people the ~$600-1000 in savings over the Cap would be well worth it and to others certainly not.

BTW, is it safe to assume it is $1500 + shipping? A 150lb box that size would be tough to eat shipping on.
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post #24 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by MKtheater View Post

Why do you guys assume that the q driver will mop the floor of the cap?

"You guys"? I said a pair of them will mop the floor with a single Cap. Would you prefer that I be more technical? Are you saying I'm wrong? Please be more specific.

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Originally Posted by Jeff Permanian View Post

The Q's has roughly half the motor strength so it will need much more excursion for same output in the same vented enclosure.

A pair of Qs HAS a lot more excursion for MORE output, so I'm missing your point.

What's the l part of the Bl of your driver, since you've brought it up?

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post #25 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 10:33 AM
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"The Mayham is a nice driver. The BL^2/re of the Mayham is 223 vs LMS-5400's 225 vs the Captivater 256.5..."

awesome (i calculated 245 t2m2/ohms for the mayhem, but not important).

nice to see someone put one of these powerful motored drivers in a home audio sub...at last!

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post #26 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 10:54 AM
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two q's in 10 cubic feet doesn't work.
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post #27 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by coctostan View Post

(check out the THD in Ricci's test of his 25hz tuned 21SW152 <4% @ 120db from tune and up).

You saw that!

On a completely unrelated subject...I actually had to move the m30 back to 4meters for that sub and the tapped horns. Unfortunately that still wasn't enough for the TC sounds loaded horns. After exhaustive investigation of my soundcard, mic preamp and mic last week it turns out that the m30 starts compressing above 125dB spl and utterly at 127-128dB spl regardless of frequency. Distortion of the signal from the mic increases too. Weird compression behavior in some of the big boys and especially during CEA2010 bursts where the sub obviously got louder but the reading did not increase clued me in that something was limiting in my signal chain. Turns out it is the mic. 142dB spl it is not linear to . Looks like for some of the bigger subs I will have to go to 4 meters for the max long term output sweeps and 8 or even 10 meters for the CEA2010 bursts. Fortunately the mic compression only affects 3 subs that have been tested to date. The Gjallerhorn, DTS-10 and ported 21sw152. Or perhaps a new microphone is in order.

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post #28 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by bossobass View Post


"You guys"? I said a pair of them will mop the floor with a single Cap. Would you prefer that I be more technical? Are you saying I'm wrong? Please be more specific.

A pair of Qs HAS a lot more excursion for MORE output, so I'm missing your point.

What's the l part of the Bl of your driver, since you've brought it up?

Bosso

I would say a pair would have more excursion but not mop the floor with them and the proposed design with the Q's would be much bigger! I am telling you the Caps are tiny for a ported huge displacement sub which can go to 15hz with plug. I have owned both DIY ported and Caps and the caps being so small will sway people to them. The OP never really gave details on what he wanted so we could give him huge subs and the bigger and uglier the cheaper! My sonosubs had great performance to 11hz in room but they took up the whole front stage!
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post #29 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 11:15 AM
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Dual Fi Q18's in sealed with proper power would go louder and lower all in a similar sized cab to the Cap. The Cap might have an edge right around Fb but then the response will drop like a stone.

Is this the DIY section or the regular subwoofer section? Sounds like the OP is interested in building his own sub otherwise I think he would have bought a Captivator or two by now.


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post #30 of 168 Old 01-05-2012, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright.... Well I see this thread is getting into a little debate so I should probably explain a little better. To be honest I don't know what I want, or need. I'm new to all this and still learning myself. But I do know what I have now ( 2 epik empires) isn't really doing it for me. And when I do build my upgraded 4 Pi's I don't think they will keep up.
When I titled this thread and said I was looking for an equivalent to the Captivator, that was because that was all I knew and all i really wanted. I first found JTR from posts and threads from a member RMK and I was hooked by his set up. The CAP from then on was want I wanted and as far as I knew the top sub in its class. But... Due to the wife and my budget I needed to find a cheaper alternative. That's when I found this DIY community and I'm glad I did cause I think I can achieve just as good if not better than T12's and CAPS. For a lot less. Plus it looks like this project can keep me busy.
As previously mentioned I have never ventured into the DIY market. Woodworking skills..... I would like to say I have a little as I have built and done other projects but nothing like this. I also have uncle that used to make custom cabinets so I have help and tools there plus all the knowledge and experience from this forum.
My basement is my home theater but it is not dedicated. It roughly a 16' by 28' area from my screen to my bar area but my basement L shapes starting at 14' and goes to the rest of the basement.
Size of subwoofers..... Well I have space up front but don't want anything really huge. My empires are 22 H x 18 W x 24 D and I wouldn't be opposed to going bigger. Like I said I'm looking a doing two separate 18" subs.
I don't need anything super crazy but wanna fill my space and keep my face smiling me I put in that blue ray I know my technical lingo needs work. Probably looking to achieve 10-15Hz.
Budget..... Not counting cost of wood probably wanna be between $700-1000 per sub and that's with the amp to power them. Hope this helps and I appreciate everyones opinion.
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